A group of people walk through a field.

Season 2 of First Contact premieres this September

From a media release:

In association with Animiki See Digital Production, Nüman Films and Indios Productions, APTN announced today that it will premiere season two of the documentary-series, First Contact as a three-night television event on APTN starting September 17 at 8 p.m. ET/CT/MT.

The series will continue with episode two on Wednesday, September 18 and episode three on Thursday, September 19. Following the third episode on Thursday, September 19 at 8 p.m. ET/CT/MT, the travelers and some of the Indigenous hosts and producers will sit down in an interactive panel, live on Facebook.

Following the success of season one, this brand-new season once again takes six Canadians, all with varied opinions about Indigenous Peoples, on a unique 28-day exploration of Indigenous communities. The three-part series, narrated by host and social justice activist George Stroumboulopoulos, has proven to be a compelling exploration into Indigenous culture in Canada.

The participants will have their lives turned upside down, their perceptions challenged and their prejudices confronted in this three-part series. This journey will change their lives forever.

The six travelers’ life-changing, 28-day journey into Indigenous communities starts in Kanesatake, QC. The participants are exposed to a new perspective about the Oka Siege and then in Natuashish, Labrador, time spent with the local Innu Peoples sheds new light on its residents and history.

In episode two, the six participants travel south to Thunder Bay, where a number of tragic incidents have exposed racist attitudes towards Indigenous people. Then, a meeting with residential school survivors in southern Ontario shocks the travelers.

In the final episode, the group travels to northern Saskatchewan and face their biggest test yet. There, they meet with people from communities deeply affected by the death and trial of Colten Boushie. Finally, the group travels to Yukon, where self-governance is helping a community flourish.

Indigenous educators and storytellers include:

  • Ian Campeau, formerly of a Tribe Called Red
  • Colleen Cardinal, Sixties Scoop survivor
  • Ellen Gabriel and Elder John Cree, Front line community members at the Oka Siege
  • Stephanie MacLaurin, community host in Fort William First Nation
  • Becky Sasakamoose Kuffner, race relations coordinator in Saskatoon
  • Eleanore Sunchild, legal council for the Boushie family
  • Debbie Baptiste, Colten Boushie’s mother

Season 2 began filming in August 2018, prior to the release of season 1.

The following six participants will leave their everyday lives behind to visit Indigenous communities across Canada:

Brennen Kovic
Age: 35
Location: Mississauga, Ont.
Occupation: Sales

Brennen is outspoken, loyal, honest, and is known for being a jokester. Brennen straddles political lines; he feels strongly about LGBTQ+ rights, housing and health care, and believes in being fiscally conservative. He considers himself a person who is helpful and treats people with respect. As a first-generation, Croatian immigrant whose family has seen great success in Canada, he feels that Indigenous Peoples lack the necessary work ethic to succeed, and instead choose to blame others for their problems.

Jackson Way
Age: 19
Location: Midland, Ont.
Occupation: Student

An East Coast resident, Jackson Way has been attending school in Nova Scotia for the last year studying history. But this 19-year-old animal lover calls Ontario home. Jackson has a passion for history and politics and is a creative person. He loves poetry, playing guitar, songwriting and singing, and theatre. He has strong opinions about Indigenous Peoples and feels they receive special treatment. He loves to learn, feels strongly about social responsibility and is always up for a healthy debate.

Laurianne Bencharski
Age: 45
Location: Prince Albert, Sask.
Occupation: Former Corrections Officer

Laurianne is a very active person and is interested in a variety of recreational activities. In her free time, she loves to ride on her ski doo or quad, curl, slow pitch, and spend time at her cabin. Living in Prince Albert, where 40% of the population is Indigenous, she has experienced many negative interactions and feels like a victim. This has led to her harbouring many negative feelings toward Indigenous Peoples.

Larry Harris
Age: 62
Location: Brantford, Ont.
Occupation: Shipping and Receiving

Outgoing and charming, Larry is an opinionated man with a fun-loving exterior. But he holds strong stereotypical views towards Indigenous Peoples and sees them as angry and greedy. Mostly, he feels they are to blame for any hardships they face, and the rest of society has to pay for it. In his free time, Larry loves to spend time at the cottage, fishing, hunting, and cycling.

Samantha Whitehead
Age: 26
Location: Whitby, Ont.
Occupation: Event Manager

When asked how others would describe her, Stephanie said they would call her a dreamer, someone who thinks unconventionally, is friendly and optimistic. Samantha grew up in a tight-knit family and describes her childhood as ‘quite perfect.’ Growing up in the suburbs, she has admittedly grown up in a very sheltered world. Not only does she know nothing about Indigenous Peoples or culture, she claims to have never even met an Indigenous person in her life.

Stephanie Pituley
Age: 36
Location: Tyndall, Man.
Occupation: Stay-at-home mother and co-owner of a trucking business

Stephanie and her family spend lots of time on the road and love traveling to tropical locations during the cold Manitoba winters. Living near Winnipeg, she associates being Indigenous with homelessness, addiction and crime. But, she has recently discovered that she herself has Métis heritage. However, her interest in this discovery has nothing to do with fostering a cultural or spiritual connection. Instead, she is interested in only using it to obtain perceived “perks” for her children.

First Contact is produced by Animiki See Digital Production, Nüman Films and Indios Productions, with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund. Producers are Vanessa Loewen and Desiree Single from Animiki, Jeff Newman and Jocelyn Mitchell from Nüman Films, and Stephanie Scott from Indios Productions. This series is written and directed by Jeff Newman.

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